Marriage isn’t easy–there’s always more to learn and improve on. Since getting married, I’ve learned lots of marriage tips and tricks. Here are the top 10 lessons about marriage I’ve learned over the last 10 years!
Today is my 10-year wedding anniversary! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been married for TEN years. I mean, most of the time I don’t even feel like I’m really an adult, so how is it possible I’ve been married that long?!
But it’s true! And it’s been nothing short of amazing. I’m so grateful for the life I’ve built with this man. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the greatest blessings in the world.
Here are ten marriage tips I’ve learned in my ten years as a wife:
Marriage Tip #1: Maximize strengths and minimize faults.
Or, in other words, focus on the good. The fact of the matter is, our spouses aren’t perfect (no matter how much we thought they were when we got married). Every single person in the world has faults and flaws and things that will drive us insane.
And if we focus on those things that bug us, of course we’re going to notice them more and be even more annoyed.
But if we focus on all the amazing traits that made us fall in love, we’ll see those more and we’ll be much happier.
My husband isn’t perfect (and I’m not either). But when I put his faults next to his strengths? Man, I’m one lucky girl! Sure, sometimes I don’t understand him or the things he does, but I choose to focus on what I love about him. Because he’s a package deal. If I want those good things, I gotta take those flaws too. Besides, perfect would be boring!
Marriage Tip #2: Show gratitude in your marriage.
It’s pretty easy to remember to say thank you to the waitress that brings out our food, the grocer that bags our groceries, and the random person that holds the door open for us. But often times it’s the people that do the most for us that rarely get a thank you.
Maybe it’s because they’re doing things so often. Maybe it’s because what they’re doing is sort of expected. Or maybe we just don’t think about it. But in any case, it’s easy to forget to show our gratitude for the ones we love.
Sure, on birthdays or anniversaries or Valentine’s Day we might write a card and say thanks, but the day-today things often go unrecognized.
I know I forget to say thanks to my husband way too often. But I’ve learned I’m much happier (and so is he) when I try to focus on saying thanks!
- Thanks for helping clean-up dinner.
- Thanks for taking the kids on your errand so I could have the house to myself for a half hour.
- Thanks for grabbing me a glass of water.
- Thanks for loving me.
A lot of these things are just his responsibility as a dad or a spouse or someone who lives in our house, but it never hurts to say thanks anyway. It always feels good to be appreciated!
Marriage Tip #3: Don’t stop flirting.
Flirting is SO MUCH FUN. Right?! It’s seriously one of my favorite things!
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you can’t flirt anymore. Keep flirting with your spouse!
I love it when my husband flirts with me. And he thinks I’m cutest when I’m flirting with him. Some of our best moments happen when we’re flirting–plus, I love all those butterflies I get! Nothing makes us feel more young and in love than flirting.
Marriage Tip #4: Don’t stop kissing.
Yep, this is another one that gets overlooked. In my opinion, you should kiss at least twice every single day. Minimum. Even when you’re married.
My husband and I kiss every morning before he leaves for work. When he gets home from work, I try to always run up and give him a big kiss to let him know how happy I am for him to be home (and, trust me, I’m really happy for him to be home!). And we kiss goodnight before we drift off to sleep.
Plus, a good old make-out session a couple times a week goes a long way! 😉
Marriage Tip #5: It’s more important to be happy than to be right.
My husband and I hate fighting. We rarely go more than about thirty minutes before resolving an argument because we can’t stand being upset with each other. I’ve learned that I’d rather be happy than be right.
But arguments still happen. That’s part of life. And the thing about arguments is that they can get heated fast. You feel so strongly about your opinion that you can’t see how anyone could feel any differently. And that causes anger and resentment and negative thoughts about the other person (that you don’t actually believe, I might add).
And that feeling when you’re mad at your spouse? That’s quite possibly one of the worst feelings in the world! It’s pretty impossible to feel happy when you’re feeling that way, and I’d rather let him be right than feel it. I never want to let my pride get in the way of saying I’m sorry or hearing him out.
I have my husband to thank for this lesson because he’s always been really good at this, right from day one. Or rather my father-in-law, who likes to drill this statement into his son’s heads before they get married: “You’re right. I’m wrong. And I’m sorry.”
More often than not, after we come together and say we’re sorry, we’re able to have a good (unheated) conversation about the subject, and we end up coming to an easy compromise or even start seeing eye to eye on the subject.
Marriage Tip #6: Find a hobby you can share together.
My husband and I both write books. We go to writing workshops and conferences together. We discuss books and plot ideas and characterization. We read each other’s drafts and help fix them up and make them the best they can be. We’ve even written books together.
It’s so fun to share something together and have this common passion and language and skill!
Having a hobby together gives you something to connect on, something to share, something fun to do together that’s an escape from your day-to-day life. It’s so important to connect on something that isn’t your home and family (although home and family is and always will be most important). But taking that time together to do something that’s purely fun will make you better spouses, better parents, and better people.
Marriage Tip #7: Let’s get physical.
Yeah, I’m going there. Because it’s important. Plus, it’s fun!
Make it a priority. Yeah, life is busy. Yeah, sometimes you’re tired and don’t feel like it. Or maybe you’re self-conscious of your post-baby body. Or maybe you’re super stressed (though I’d have to argue that this is one of the best stress relievers out there 🤷). But do it anyway.
Schedule it in if you have to. That doesn’t need to make it any less romantic. In fact, you can use it to your advantage, like texting about it earlier in the day to build anticipation.
If you let this go, things can go downhill quickly. It’s a lot harder to be mad at someone you’re being intimate with on the regular. It doesn’t have to big a big ordeal. Just make it happen!
Marriage Tip #8: Serve!
Serve your spouse. Even–and perhaps especially–when you’re feeling annoyed or upset with them. Find ways to make their days easier or happier or better.
Text them reasons you love them. Buy them their favorite treat at the store or that new book they’ve been eyeing. Go get their car washed or do their laundry for them or wake up early and make them breakfast.
Marriage is about selflessness. When you put your focus on how you can make their life better, you’re life, in turn, will feel lighter, happier, and more fulfilled. It’s funny how that works, but it really does work!
Marriage Tip #9: Take time alone together.
Sometimes it’s hard to get away and spend intentional time, just the two of you. Between kids, work, household tasks, church, friends and family members, and other responsibilities (adulting, man 😂), it’s hard to find the time to connect and spend time one-on-one, but it’s SO important!
There are three different times I’ve found it important to make connecting alone with my spouse a priority:
This might only be for two minutes. In fact, it often is. But we try to take the time to connect, alone, at some point every single day. Here are some things we do to connect at the end of the day: play a quick game, talk, cuddle while we watch a show, chat while we fold laundry together after the kids go to bed, read a chapter of a book together, or simply chat about our days for a couple minutes before we go to sleep.
This one is really hard and we’ve been slacking on it. And I notice a difference. We’re currently trying to make this one a bigger priority again.
Also, note that date night doesn’t have to mean leaving the house (though I recommend doing that as often as you can swing it). Date night can be done at home after the kids go to bed. But my advice is to make it different than a normal night. Put your phones away. Have a specific activity planned. And don’t let other tasks or obligations get in the way or push back the start time. All too often, I’ve declared Friday night at-home date night, then found myself completing “just one more to-do” until it was too late and time for bed. Picking a time and an activity ahead of time makes us much more likely to follow through.
Maybe it’s an overnighter in a neighboring city. Maybe it’s a weekend a few hours away. Or maybe it’s a week long beach vacation. But i’m a huge believer in getting away without the kids. It’s so important to have that extended time away to connect and laugh and have fun without the stress and constant interruption of kids.
Yes, we love our kids! Yes, we love spending time with them! And yes, we love traveling with them (most of the time)! But it’s also important to get away without them.
And no, it’s not selfish. Every time we get away, we come back appreciating our kids and daily life so much more–and that makes us much better parents! Plus, I’m a firm believer that it’s super important for kids to have that time away from their parents. Not only does it teach them the importance of making their future marriages a priority, but they also learn how to manage being away from their parents, which is such an important skill for kids to learn early on. Whether these trips happen more than once a year or once every five years, find a way to take some time away with your spouse.
Marriage Tip #10: Don’t let the small stuff bother you.
I spent the first few years of my marriage letting myself get upset about the dumbest things.
Okay, fine, I still catch myself doing it sometimes 🙈. Things like socks left on the floor. Putting the milk jug back in the fridge with half a sip of milk left in it. Loading the dishwasher in the most inefficient (in my opinion) way. Always choosing mismatched pajamas for the kids.
Why do I let these things bother me so much? Because, in the long run, do any of these thing really matter?
Does it matter that my daughter is wearing a pink princess pajama top and a yellow kitten pajama bottom? Nope.
Does it really matter that there are dirty socks left on the closet floor? No.
Does it matter that the dishwasher is loaded differently than I usually do it? Not one bit. Hey, at least he’s loading it, right?
These things don’t really matter in the grand scheme of life. They’re just details. Sure, it’s not the way I do things. And sure, sometimes I don’t understand it (I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the milk jug thing 🤔). But it’s really not a big deal.
Stressing about it or wasting my energy being upset gets me nowhere. All it does it make me upset with him and cause tension in our home.
And that’s just not worth it, in my opinion. I’d rather be happy and focus on the big, important things.
Marriage Tips to Learn
I’ve still got a lot to learn about marriage. I’m definitely no expert. But I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned in the past ten years, and I can’t wait to see what lessons the next ten years bring!
What’s your best marriage advice?
For more marriage tips, check out these posts:
- 5 Habits for a Happy Marriage
- One Truth that Will Improve Your Marriage
- Or check out my mom’s post from my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary.